Bread, glorious bread

A tough topic for a Keto fan. What do I do about bread made from wheat flour—with all those carbs? Bread in all its forms is so basic, so universal, so loved. And the bread we know best is made from wheat flour. High in carbs and protein. The must-have food for probably every culture throughout history. Leavened or unleavened. Flat or raised. Three ingredients or many. But if you eat the typical American diet, you’re eating way too many carbs and carrying way too much weight. Ketoistas are going to have to do without the bread we love or find a palatable substitute for wheat-flour bread. What to do? Let’s start here with some background and a global perspective. Here’s a bread primer from The New Yorker:

Continue reading

Food and our health

For some, food is a means to instant gratification and not much more. But food on a personal level is mostly about health. Garbage in, garbage our, as they say.

The way many of us eat is killing us. Here, at DRB, we grew up eating the “Western Diet,” too. And we’ve suffered for it with obesity and high blood pressure. When we started reading and researching to start this blog, we gradually adopted healthier eating. Eventually, we tried Keto and lost 40 pounds. All good. But eating healthy, and not too much of anything, is what we’re about now that we are aging.

This video and the course behind it from Coursera, is a great introduction to the issues we face as Western Diet consumers.

Dad’s Anytime Creamy Pasta Sauce

Versatility is my middle name or something like that. I am nothing if not versatile as a cook. Actually, I’m pretty lazy and always looking for ways to cook something that tastes great, is repeatable, but not boring. This has led me to develop some recipes that can easily be adapted to what you have around the kitchen or the special ingredients that you prefer, like spinach instead of kale in my case. I also really like creamy: creamy desserts, creamy salad dressing, and creamy sauces. This recipe checks that box and can be made so many different ways that I still haven’t tried them all. Hope you like.

Print Recipe
No ratings yet

Dad’s Anytime Creamy Pasta Sauce

Versatile, Italianesque, Make-It-Up as you go. Just my kind of creamy delight.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cream, pasta, protein, vegetables
Servings: 4
Author: dad

Equipment

  • 12" skillet
  • Pasta pot

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta of choice Or less if you don't need a whole pound right now,.
  • 1 to 1.5 lb chicken and/or shrimp Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast and/or peeled and deveined raw shrimp. Or, use firm tofu.
  • 1 medium onion Small dice.
  • 3 cloves garlic Minced.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, butter, or combination Combination is best. Major tip: For the oil, use the olive oil packed with the sun-dried tomatoes.
  • 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream Don't skimp here.
  • 2 cups cooked or raw vegetables Fresh or frozen spinach. Cooked asparagus. Fresh zucchini. Lots of options.
  • 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil Much more flavor than fresh tomatoes and less work. If you can only get sdt's without oil, that's OK.
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning Or, make your own.
  • 1 lb pasta Your favorite sauce-absorbing variety.
  • .5 cup Parmesan cheese Finely grated.
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • minced fresh parsley or half as much dried to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta per package instructions. Liberally salt the water. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. I hate it when I forget to do that!
  • Prepare the protein. You'll vary the process depending on the protein. For boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut them in 1" pieces and sprinkle salt and pepper and a seasoning, such as paprika, or onion powder, on both sides. Let these chunks dry-marinate in a bowl while you attend to other prep. For other protein sources, such as shrimp, the prep involve different seasoning, but is basically the same.
  • Peel and dice the onion.
  • Mince the sun-dried tomatoes and set aside.
  • In the skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the oil if using. Cook until the impurities are bubbled out of the butter. Less than a minute.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Less than a minute.
  • Add the protein to the skillet and cook until it's just barely done. This will be 8-10 minutes for chicken or ground meat, only 3-4 minutes for shrimp. Don't overcook either one or you'll robbing yourself of juiciness.
  • Remove the chicken and/or shrimp to a bowl to avoid over-cooking. You'll add it back later.
  • Add seasonings, sundried tomatoes. Combine thoroughly and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn down the heat a bit if things are too energetic.
  • Add the spinach or other vegetable. Let fresh spinach thoroughly wilt. Let cooked vegs get warmed through and integrated with the sauce.
  • Add back the chicken and/or shrimp. Mix all together and heat through evenly.
  • Add finely grated Parmesan cheese and mix well.
  • Add cooked pasta and combine well. Let your concoction sit for a bit on very low heat. Give your pasta a few minutes to take in its new surroundings. If things get too thick, use some leftover pasta water to get the sauciness you like.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, fresh or dried parsley, and more Parmesan to finish just before serving. You have created a dish that is comforting, sophisticated, and scrumptious for just about anyone. There are so many ways to vary this that you can make new and favorite versions over and over and no one will know how easy it's become to make something really special and pretty fast on a week night. See Notes below for more ideas.

Eat plants and prosper

It’s been a long, cold winter here in our town. Since the New Year, really, we just haven’t felt much like eating cold food. You know, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Weird thing. Comfort food has tasted that much more comfortable in this weather. But spring will come, eventually, and with it the feeling that a green salad, fresh fruit for snacks, and crudities as appetizers will again feel comfortable…and healthy. Here’s some motivational reading from NPR. Have a green spring.

Eat Plants And Prosper: For Longevity, Go Easy On The Meat, Study Says : The Salt : NPR.

Clam chowder

Cornerstone of Christmas Eve dinner at our house for more than 40 years, my creamy clam chowder has survived many experiments and diet plans. Whether you go for the high octane version with sourdough bread bowl, or the Keto option, this cozy delight gets us all ready for a cold ride to church. Sometimes we save the strawberry shortcake for after, sometimes not.

Keys to greatness: The bacon base, the herbal accents, and just the right thickening for that great–not too thin and not too thick–texture that everybody likes.

Keto Option: Our clam chowder is a great Keto deal from the get-go since we use bacon and heavy whipping cream and add butter for even more richness and fat. But since potatoes and wheat flour are Keto no-no’s, another solution had to be found to thicken the chowder.

Continue reading

Enough food?

Back in the 1970’s, a Department of Agriculture scientist told me that food science was so advanced that there would no longer be a problem raising enough food to feed the world. There was one valley in Peru that could grow enough peas to meet the whole world’s demand. There were optimal climates and conditions for other crops around the world. There was every reason why enough food could be grown as long as people worked together to grow the right food in the right places. He was an idealist.

But it’s not just about agriculture, is it? It’s also about distribution, economics, climate change, and of course, politics.

Now, we’re well into the 21st Century. The latest UN Report (video) on climate change and world food is fair warning that many will die and go hungry because of climate change. Large areas of the world are becoming deserts.

There’s lot that anyone can do to impact world food supplies: supporting sustainable agriculture at home—like in your backyard, getting involved in a climate change movement, helping organizations that provide food for hungry people—at the local food bank or in desertified regions, and so much more.

Add a food-related cause to your personal portfolio of good deeds—or go all-in about food. The planet will appreciate it.

Here at DRB, as we become more aware of the big picture about food, we try to strike a balance between celebrating home cooking, eating well and eating healthy, sustainable agriculture, and the complicated issues that keep so many people from getting the food they need for life. We hope you are getting a balanced diet of information about food and our world.

Press reset

“Suddenly, saving our planet is within reach.”

— David Attenborough

We have just watched the brand new David Attenborough “witness statement” documentary on Netflix—his review and analysis of a life spent observing nature over 70+ years. We are greatly moved by his conclusions and recommendations, which add so much to our understanding of how we should be doing food.

Continue reading

Army grub

I have been trying to think of even one meal or dish I had in any Army mess hall that I would call memorable. Can’t do it. You know, make a connection—here on Veteran’s Day—between my Army service and my efforts here at DRB. It’s just not happening.

However, that won’t stop me from remembering and honoring all the vets I served with and all the others I didn’t. What you did is much appreciated this day and every day.

My mom used to bake cakes to take to the USO during WWII. My uncle died in Belgium in January ’45. I had it easy, spending my three years with the Old Guard at Ft. Myer, VA.

I was an Army photographer, so I never got behind the counter in a mess hall—except—for the five consecutive 14-hour days I spent on K.P. while in A.I.T. This was so we would not have to pull K.P again during our training. And we didn’t. But those five days taught more then I wanted to know about peeling potatoes and cleaning ovens—with the best steel wool and lemon juice the Army had to offer.

So, whether your service was in a jungle or desert, or behind a stove or camera, or just waiting patiently at home, you are honored today. Take a moment and think about what a great military and military tradition we have.

Orange Marmalade Cake

Essentially a pound cake variation with major organginess, this is a great treat for breakfast, dessert, or afternoon tea. My version used a very rich orange marmalade that gave lots of flavor and made a substantial glaze. The cake kept for more than a week—seemed to get better as it aged. It really took me back to 4 o’clock tea with Grandma.

Source: Melissa Clark, one of my favs. Here’s a link to her video.

Continue reading

Dad’s little roasted potatoes

A great, inexpensive dish for one or a whole crowd. I love these when I add them to one of my sheet pan roasted dinners. But pan roasting works, too. These little fellas are sort of like your best French fries—rounds instead of sticks or planks—crispy outside, soft and tender inside. Yum. Can be varied indefinitely.

The Irish figured out a long time ago that potatoes can be good in many different ways. And choosing either starchier potatoes, like russets, or creamy potatoes, like Yukon Golds, will give you a very different, but equally good, taste and texture experience.

Continue reading
1 2 8
%d bloggers like this: